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Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Travel Guide

Brief Introduction
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, or also named The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xian: on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking the Wei River towards north. The lay of the land from Lishan to Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese geomancy. Qin Shi Huang (259 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China, ascended the throne at the age of 13, when construction of his tomb began. On completion of his many conquests, he ordered 720,000 conscript laborers to hurry up on building his royal tomb.

It was finished just-in-time in 210 BC for his use. His son, the second Qin Emperor, saw to his entombment. The mausoleum covers a total of 2.18 million square meters, with the tomb itself covering 220,000 square meters. The tomb was designed to be 166 meters high, but years of weathering and damage have reduced this to 76 meters. The bottom of the tomb measures 485 meters by 515 meters.

The mausoleum originally consisted of inner and outer sections. The outer section had a circumference of 6,294 meters. In addition, an underground palace, 450 meters long from south to north and 390 meters wide from east to west and covering more than 180,000 square meters, has been discovered.

According to Records of the Historian written over 2,000 years ago by Sima Qian, the construction of the grand project involved 700,000 laborers and took 36 years to be completed. No doubt thousands of statues still remain to be unearthed at this archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974. Qin (d. 210 B.C.) is buried, surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors, at the center of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyang. The small figures are all different; with their horses, chariots and weapons, they are masterpieces of realism and also of great historical interest.

A Rare Engineering Project in History
Soon after his mounting to the throne, Qin Shi Huang (259-2l0BC) began to construct his mausoleum at Lishan Hill. After his unionization of the six states, the work was carried out on a larger scale, with 700 thousand workers drafted from all part of the country to work at the construction site.

Nearly 40 years were taken for the tremendous engineering project, but the tomb garden had not been completed yet by the time the Qin Dynasty was overthrown. According to textual records, the barrow is more than 50 zhang(ll6m)in height and over 5 li(approximately 2,100 m)in periphery;the interior is built with many halls, which contain all sorts of exotic treasures. Engineering work of such a magnitude was rare in history.

Qin Terracotta Warriors: The Eighth Wonder in the World
One km east of the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, there were excavated in l974-l977 pits of terracotta warriors,funeral objects for the tomb-owner. Pit I, located in the south, measures 2l6 m in length from west to east and 62 m in width, occupying an area of l3,260 sq m ;Pit II,124 m,98 m and 6,000 sq m respectively; and Pit III,520sq m. The excavated parts yielded 800 terracotta warriors,100 terracotta horses and 18 wooden chariots Judging from the arrangement of the above unearthed objects, these pits presumably contain 7,000 terra-cotta warriors, l00 chariots and l00 terra-cotta horses altogether.

From the imitations of battle arrays one can image the might of the Qin troops who put all enemies to rout, overthrew the six states and unified the whole country more than 2,000 years ago. The terracotta warriors are stalwart, usually about l.8 m high, varied in appearance and lifelike in expression, exhibiting the superb skill of Qin sculptors.

Pioneering Creation: New Memorial Ritual to the Late Emperor
Before the Qin Dynasty, sacrifice to late kings was not held on their burial ground, Qin Shi Huang was the first monarch to have a royal memorial hall built in a grave yard. The tomb garden is enclosed with two walls shaped like the character, within which the banow is erected a little to the south of the center of the inner wall.

The memorial hall stands 50m northwest of the barrow; its foundation, as seen today, has a roughly square plan and measures 3,500 sq m in area; nearby are other building sin ruins. In the hall, an image of Qin Shi Huang was made for sacrifice.

This memorial manner exerted profound and lasting influence in subsequent ages, having been followed in the construction of later imperial mausoleums down to the Ming-Qing period. It was a development of the ancient Chinese mortuary institution.


Can be reached by Bus No.306 or 307 from the railway station for 5RMB.

DCT Tips:

Recommended Time for a Visit: Three hours

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Tours,Xian Travel Guide
The gate of Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Tours,Xian Travel Guide

The gate of Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

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